Embarking On A Breeding Project... I am proud to announce I have finally officially embarked on a Project I've been planning quite a while. I've got a brand new loft and adequate space to start my breeding. First, some back story to explain why I'm mixing breeds. I know many pigeon keepers are against it. I have a reason to do it, weather it's a valid reason however I'll leave up to interpretation, but it's reason enough for me The reason is an emotional one I suppose, as it ties in with my grandfather and how I got into pigeons. My Grandfather was born in Serbia, and started his flock at the age of 10 when a friend of his father gave him several pairs of Serbian Highfliers. He tended to his growing flock throughout his youth. He got married and had children, though times were tough he managed to care for his family as well as his prized birds. Things got harder and harder though and he decided to bring the family to America, to join a friend that had already immigrated. Of corse he wouldn't leave his beloved line of pigeons he had worked so hard to cultivate. But the plane did not allow pigeons on the plane, so he hid as many pigeon eggs as he could in his and his family's pockets, trying their hardest to keep the eggs warm and unbroken. Once they had arrived at the friends house (who also was luckily a "pigeon guy") he put the eggs under the friends broody pairs. I'm not sure exactly how many birds he got from those fosters,(there's always been a bit of a language barrier between us haha) but apparently it was enough to start a new flock. By the time I knew him, he had over 100 pigeons living in a loft that took up more than half of his small back yard in Burbank California. Every time I came to visit him ( I grew up and live in Washington) he would talk about giving me pigeons, he was so eager to get me started with a flock of my own. I was quite young at the time, and since I already had chickens I wasn't allowed to have any pigeons because I had "enough birds". Finally at age 14 I pleaded my way into getting one pair from him. My father and I took a road trip down and I returned with two beautiful Serbian Highfliers. However it turned out they were both males. (I had wanted young birds and payed the price haha) I became completely enamored with the pigeons and wound up eventually re homing my chickens so I could have more pigeons. One of the two Highfliers was taken by a hawk, and I got the remaining one (Dale) a lovely roller hen, with whom he had several babies. Tragically, my beloved mentor and favorite pigeon guy died before I could get any more of his birds. I was heart broken over this obviously. The care of his birds fell to a very incompetent nephew of his. Under his care, more then half the birds have died due to moisture related issues. He hasn't fixed the leak in the roof because it hardly ever rains in LA and usually the leak "isn't a problem" and he won't give or sell me any birds because he "doesn't have enough" to give me any.. I digress. So I have one pure bred Serbian Highflier to work with, one of his grand children, and one of his great grand children. Until recently I have only had space for them and their mates, no room for more babies. I'm 18 now and I've got a much better pigeon housing situation where I've started my project. Dale and his west of England tumbler(?) mate have just weaned their first baby (his roller mate was taken by a hawk years ago) His grand child Sebastian who at the moment is paired to a white homer hen has two new babies (four days old today) Sebastian's child from his last batch a year ago is ready to pair up as soon as I find a suitable mate for her. So: what is my goal for this project? Short Term: (the next year or so) Just get some more babies that are descended from Dale (and therefore from my grandfathers line) to work with. Once I have more birds from my existing pairings, I'll re home the tumbler and homer hens, and re pair those cocks to hens that are more similar to Serbian Highfliers. Long term: Select for birds that look the most like the Serbian Highfliers, breed them to another kind crested highflier, and get the crest and high-flying behavior back into my line. Ultimately I'd like to get more Serbians to cross in to bring in more of those traits, but they are a difficult breed to find.. It's just important to me that I have birds descended from my grandpop. My reasons are sentimental, but I feel the cross breeding is warranted in this situation. I want to carry on the with the birds that were his life's work, in some form at least. It's also a connection no matter how tenuous to my heritage. He would want it that way. I welcome any feed back, and would be delighted to get suggestions about what other breeds to cross in or just suggestions in general. I hope some of you have found this post interesting!